Nationwide Debate on Marijuana Comes to NDSU

BENJAMIN NORMAN | THE SPECTRUM Bob Stutman (left) and Steve Hager (right) debate marijuana Tuesday night in Festival Concert Hall.
Bob Stutman (left) and Steve Hager (right) debate marijuana Tuesday night in Festival Concert Hall.

Steve Hager and Bob Stutman filled Festival Concert Hall with around 150 people Tuesday night.

The duo has been travelling around the country, campus to campus, talking about marijuana.

Steve Hager, former editor-in-chief of “High Times Magazine,” is one of the leaders of the pro-legalization front. His fellow debater, retired DEA Agent Bob Stutman, is one of the most outspoken opposer on the issue.

Hager cited the many uses of hemp products and the renewable nature of the source as a reasons for legalization. He also mentioned that the first American Flag was made out of hemp.

He went on to talk about how many families who have children with epilepsy have been moving to Colorado saying, “Marijuana is the safest therapeutic drug.”

Hager, a Woodstock alumnus, also mentioned that consuming marijuana is a part of the counter-culture with which he identifies.

“We are good people… its a part of our religion,” he said.

Stutman presented his side with studies from Harvard, Northwestern and Federal research studies. Noting multiple times that, “Marijuana is winning the politics, but losing the science.”

“Most people want it (marijuana) legal because it is their intoxicant of choice,” Stutman said.

He also went on to say that the level of younger users, ages 12 to 18, in Colorado have increased.

“When a person starts using cannabis under the age of 18, they are more likely to become addicted.” Stuman said. “… You know who those people are.”

Hager cited that many laws in America are continually filling prisons.

“When I was growing up, there were 200,000 people in all jails and prisons, today there are over 2 million.” Hager said. “… Marijuana is not killing people, the laws are.”

Stutman and Hager both agreed drug use should be considered a public health issue. They also agreed the prison population is too large.

“A stupid policy is throwing people in jail for using drugs… it needs to be treated as a public health problem,” Stutman said.

They also agreed that children should not consume cannabis.

This event was brought to NDSU by Campus Attractions Issues & Ideas committee.

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